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Friday, June 15, 2012

Corbett reserve faces a host of intractable problems

June 15, 2012 By Rashme Sehgal Correspondent Corbett National Park (uttarakhand) Corbett Tiger Reserve may boast of the world’s highest density of tigers but it is beset by a host of problems that may soon see it lose its premier status. CTR’s director Rajan Mishra admits that CTR has witnessed an intensification of man-animal conflict with as many as eight humans being killed by a man-eater in 2010. One of the main reasons for this conflict is the massive construction of hotels and luxury villas blocking of the entire eastern boundary with only two passages available for wildlife to approach the Kosi river. Joseph Vattakaven, tiger coordinator for WWF-India pointed out that tigers are constantly spilling over outside tiger reserves and presently 13 tigers are using the Kosi river corridor to cross over to the Ramnagar forests. The WWF has employed 86 traps on either side of this corridor which show the corridor is being used by several animals, including elephants. CTR’s other problems relate to the removal of the villages of Chukam and Sunderbhal which are cutting off the animals access to the Ramnagar forests. The problem is that although these villages are not located in core tiger habitat, the National Tiger Conservation Authority realises only too well that the buffer area is also rich in wildlife. “The entire Sunderkhal area, comprising a 10-km stretch, has been encroached upon and presently has 144 families living there. Former environment minister Jairam Ramesh had made an exception and agreed to grant compensation of `10 lakh per family even though they were not in the core area,” said Mr Mishra. “Removing the villages of Chukam is an easier task since they are inside a territorial division of a tiger reserve area,” Mr Mishra explained. But though villagers from both these villages are clamouring to be relocated, the NTCA has yet to act on the ground. Another major problem facing CTR is that stone and sand quarry is no longer restricted to the Kosi river but is being done in stretches of the Ramganga river as well.

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